The bad news started early Saturday for Syracuse Orange basketball and then it never let up. After finding out that Fab Melo was unable to travel with the team due to academic issues and Mookie Jones' departure, the No. 1 Syracuse Orange got thoroughly-beaten by the Notre Dame Fighting Irish,
The Orange's two big deficiencies caught up with them. Without Fab, the team's already-poor rebounding ability was just horrendous. And their transition offense was brought to a standstill, leaving the team to rely on a half-court offense that looked shaky at best.
It also didn't help matters that the Irish had one of those PlayStation "F you, you're losing this game" nights from the three-point line.
The Orange were down from the get-go and never seemed to be able to keep pace with the Irish until a late flurry. On offense, they seemed to be in some kind of "just do crazy stuff until someone's open for a three" set. On defense, they always seemed to be playing man-down as Notre Dame always found an open man for worked the ball into the paint easily.
Fab Melo's absence was felt for sure. Sounds kinda crazy to say that given how we would have been just find if Fab didn't travel with the team last year. We welcomed it.
And look, I'm not going to blame the refs, but, they called (and did not call) a terrible game. Just all over the place.
Giving you some kind of sense of the day, James Southerland led the way 15 points and he fouled out to boot. Kris Joseph added 14 and Dion Waiters scored 11. No other player scored more than six.
The Orange were out-rebounded 35 to 24, drew 21 fouls to Notre Dame's 14 and shot 35% to ND's 48%. The Irish also shot 47% from three-point land while the Orange shot 30%.
Syracuse now moves on to another road game against the Cincinnati Bearcats, which is the game SU was "supposed" to lose on this trip. With a loss on the record, the No.1 ranking gone and their weaknesses amplified, we'll find out a lot more about this team come Monday.
Now go take a walk...